Famed for its picturesque charm and idyllic tranquillity, the Lake District offers a unique tapestry of shimmering lakes, dense woodlands, and lofty peaks. This natural paradise is an ideal destination if you yearn for an authentic wild camping experience, away from the buzz and bustle of everyday life.
Before diving into our list of secret spots for wild camping in the Lake District, it’s essential to remember that wild camping in England and Wales is technically against the law unless you have permission from the landowner. However, it is generally accepted in higher fell (mountainous) areas, provided campers follow the Countryside Code. This includes camping above the highest fell wall, arriving late, leaving early, and leaving no trace of your visit.
Now, let’s explore the isolated, tranquil spots for wild camping in the Lake District, perfect for wilderness lovers and solitude seekers.
Nestled among the grand peaks of Seathwaite Fell, Sprinkling Tarn is an attractive spot for wild camping. With glistening waters and the Great End Crag as its backdrop, the location offers breathtaking sunset views. By day, you can explore nearby peaks like Scafell Pike and Great Gable. Despite its beauty, Sprinkling Tarn is far enough from common walking routes to ensure a peaceful night under the stars.
Nestled within a natural amphitheatre of high fells and despite its isolation, the tarn is accessible through a trek from Seathwaite in Borrowdale, making it an appealing spot for wild campers looking for an unforgettable backdrop.
This remote setting is off the regular tourist track, making it a perfect place for campers seeking solitude. With forestry around one side, and rugged hilltops circling the other, Ennerdale Water couples tranquillity and expanse in a way few other places in the Lake District can. The surrounding area is also less crowded due to the access policy, so it’s an ideal place for wild camping if you desire seclusion.
Perched above Ullswater, Angle Tarn is a remote but reachable camping spot. With its remarkable views over Patterdale, lush greenery, and the shelter provided by surrounding crags, it provides an idyllic site for wild camping. As a top tip, why not watch the sunrise over the eastern fells for a truly magical start to the day?
Situated in the middle of Windermere and Coniston, Grizedale Forest is a wildly exciting destination. Its vast expanse offers plenty of secluded spots for wild camping. During the day, you can explore various trails or indulge in artistic admiration as numerous sculptures dot the forest. In the evening, the chiming sounds of birds and rustling leaves create an orchestra, enhancing the tranquil atmosphere of this most gorgeous Lake District spot.
Buttermere correctly secures its place amongst the most tranquil camping spots in the Lake District. With its stunning lake, gentle waterfalls, and impressive mountain views, it is the perfect place to unwind. Moreover, the classic walk around the lake’s perimeter is not too strenuous, making it an excellent choice for all fitness levels.
Hay Stacks, a favourite spot of Lake District aficionado, Alfred Wainwright, offers a scenic wild camping site. With rugged terrains and Tarns dotted around its summit area, the high-level circular walk around the Haystacks offers a unique experience. The effort required to reach the location guarantees peace and quiet, well worth it for the natural beauty seeping out of every corner.
This valley in the heart of the Lake District is a campers’ paradise. Abundant with craggy peaks, stunningly beautiful tarns, and beautiful rivers, it provides a plethora of things for campers to enjoy. The area contributes itself to beautiful hikes, and the Bowfell and Crinkle Crags are rewarding climbs that offer amazing views. Wild camping here means waking up to a cinematic view every morning.
Priest’s Hole, Dove Crag
Priest’s Hole, a small sheltered hollow on the face of Dove Crag, appeals to those with a taste for the dramatic. Access to this natural cave requires a degree of hiking experience, as the paths are less trodden and can be steep. However, the panorama overlooking Dovedale and Brother’s Water is worth every step, making it one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
If you dream of a serene night by a gentle river, look no further than Eskdale. This elongated valley with the River Esk running through it offers perfect wild camping spots with stunning vistas of Scafell and Woolpack Point. During the day, Hardknott Roman Fort and Stanley Ghyll Waterfall are within reach.
Easedale Tarn, near the charming town of Grasmere, is an excellent choice for first-time wild campers. While it’s easily accessible with a short hike from Grasmere, the tarn still offers beautiful natural surroundings, a sense of isolation, and magnificent views over Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, and Calf Crag.
This place offers a reflective view of the Tarn and surrounding mountains, unmatched in all else. A relatively easy hike through charming woods and across streams leads you to this ideal wild camping spot. Surrounded by fells, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to wake up to a Lake District sunrise.
The Bottom Line
Dotted with mesmerising tarns and punctuated with radiant landscapes, the Lake District serves as a canvas for wild camping lovers to paint their adventure-filled stories. With respect for the environment and sticking to the wild camping code, this experience allows one to connect with nature at its purest, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Remember, the ideal wild camping experience hinges on leaving no trace of your visit. Ensuring that these spots remain untouched helps preserve their natural beauty and tranquillity for future generations of campers. Happy wild camping!
*Wild camping is not technically illegal in England and Wales as long as you gain the landowner’s permission. However, most of the land in the Lake District is privately owned, and the traditional right to roam does not include a right to camp. While wild camping is tolerated in higher fell areas, campers are strongly requested to be discreet, to leave no trace of their visit, and to camp above the highest fell wall, well away from towns and villages.
Please check the National Parks UK website or other official resources for any recent changes to wild camping guidelines or restrictions. Be aware that it is always essential to follow leave no trace principles and respect the environment when wild camping.*